Friday, April 18, 2008

Rainer Maria...

For many years, I have been more than content with just two books from Rainer Maria Rilke - my bodhisattva - on my shelf: the Collected Poems (trans by Stephen Mitchell) and the Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge. The words and thoughts in these two books are more than enough for a lifetime.

However, a subterranean impulse crept up on me while in Foyles not so long ago: it was time to read Letters to a Young Poet and the Neue Gedichte (New Poems). The latter is utterly spell-bounding. At random, take this poem, and take it slowly:


As if he were an ear for silence, space.
We have stopped listening. We no longer hear.
He is a star, and many a giant star
stands all about him though unseen by us.
Oh, he is all things. Is our destiny
only to await his need for us at last?
If we abased ourselves before him he
would stay unmoved, as distant as a beast.

For all the force that drives us to his feet
has worked in him for millions of years.
All that we call experience he can ignore -
experiencing all that shuts us out.


Anonymous,  7:48 am  

"spellbounding"/ spellbinding?
potato/ pot-AH-to?

Bose 8:07 am  

This was real special!

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